Industry workers across the UK are coming together on 23 July to celebrate National Travel Agents Day, and it’s never been more necessary.

In a year that has taken so much from so many, National Travel Agents Day has given travel professionals an opportunity to come together.

Coronavirus has continued to throw up challenge after challenge over the past 18 months, especially to those who rely on getting away.

The industry has discovered that quarantine and holidays don’t mix. And with government support being little and far between, the sector must look at itself on National Travel Agents Day to celebrate togetherness and look back on the year that wasn’t.

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National Travel Agents Day has never been more important


So, what’s happening on the big day?

Event organisers, Intrepid Travel, will be hosting a 24-hour cycle ride. After all who doesn’t want to get on a bike and cycle for ages in the midst of a blistering UK heatwave?

They’re also encouraging travel agencies across the UK to get involved with the big day and hold their own events.

The fun and games will be aimed at raising funds for the ABTA Lifeline and ITAA Benevolent Fund in Ireland. Who work to help agents who are continuing to struggle during the pandemic.


What are Blue Bay getting up to?

We’re happy to stand with our travel brethren in this time of, particularly intense, austerity. While we have found our own way through, what continues to be, an awful storm. We absolutely understand the importance of having togetherness in this industry we all love.

From a business perspective, Blue Bay CEO Alistair Rowland has continued to assure us, and the wider industry, our company is in a safe place due to its strong funding, despite the unique and significant challenges of 2020 bleeding in 2021. Many brilliant Agents and Tour Operator’s won’t be so fortunate.

Blue Bay CEO, Alistair Rowland has always been forthright with the business's position

Blue Bay CEO, Alistair Rowland has always been forthright with the business’s position

Through strong support via our incredible customers, team members, and supportive Board, Blue Bay has been able to continue its ambitious growth plans.

Those plans included expanded office space, recruitment drives, and an increased focus on our homeworker growth opportunity. In collaboration with our dedicated in-house team, we’ve been able to continually deliver excellence to our customers.


The industry shape

While Blue Bay has been able to negotiate its way through this tough period, thus far, it’s extremely important to remember there are businesses that haven’t been so fortunate. Which is why this day is so important.

In a world that started looking more towards refunding than spending and isolation instead of flying, going on holiday never felt further out of reach.

However, on occasions like National Travel Agents Day, the industry is presented with the rare chance to come together for two important activities. Reflection and contemplation.


Reflection

While the last thing anyone wants to do is relive the difficulties of the last 18 months, it’s important that we also see it for what it was. Extremely tough, yes, but also speckled with golden moments of togetherness and progression.

We danced with Mr Motivator and were able to set up our incredible Chairman’s Club initiative and the subsequent lines of contact therein. This progression was key for us being able to understand our customers’ needs, and their thirst for real information rather than Government mixed messaging.

We also enjoyed a good bit of dress-up

We also enjoyed a good bit of dress-up

But within that narrative of reflecting and customers’ needs, we need to pay tribute to the incredible work completed in travel agents’ customer service teams up and down the land.

With government advice seemingly changing every day, it’s never been more important to stay in the loop. Day in day out customer service teams worked through piles of holidays calling to rearrange and reiterate messages of support and reassurance for baffled customers.

EMEA managing director of the event organisers, Intrepid Travel, Zina Bencheikh said of the difficulties faced by the industry and customer service teams:

A year on from the first National Travel Agent Day, the industry is continuing to face incredibly tough times. Agents have been working tirelessly to support their clients, negotiating complex and constantly changing rules. National Travel Agent Day is a fantastic opportunity to inject some positivity and bring people together across the industry


Contemplation

Following on from Bencheikh’s message of spreading some positivity, we also think it’s important to learn the lessons from this past 18 months.

We know customers, going forwards, will continue to support the industry wherever they can. Holidays will return and we all need to be ready for when that happens.

This industry we all love has survived many hardships. From ash clouds to business collapses, it’s made of strong stuff and stronger people. Which leads us to believe we will make it through this latest tough patch together and be able to celebrate the pent-up demand when it comes.